Magellan offers study abroad program for students

Alumna Alexandria Buttgereit eats a slice of pizza in front of the Eiffel Tower. The Magellan Exchange program allowed her to visit Paris.

While most students take the opportunity to study away from their hometown, each year, thousands of students take the chance to study away from their home country.

The Magellan Exchange program allows students to study one or two semesters at a university abroad for the price of tuition at UNA, according to the Magellan Exchange website.

Craig Christy, director of the center for global engagement, said employers look for people who have experience with study abroad.

“Employers value experiential learning higher nowadays than they do GPA,” he said. “Experiential learning can be an internship, studying abroad or service learning. It shows that you (have) gotten your hands dirty and that you actually worked in the real world. An employer is not interested in hiring someone who got a 4.0 GPA, but they don’t know which way is up.”

Alumna Kaitlyn Kutz said she studied abroad in Tasmania, Australia.

“I think that having study abroad experience on my resume will help me stand out,” she said.

Christy said studying abroad has become more popular over the years.

“I get parents coming up to me every summer asking about studying abroad,” he said. “They want to know more. They come because they’ve read all of these stories about employers wanting experiential learning and diversity learning.”

Senior Marley McDaniel said she was able to study in South Korea because of the Magellan Exchange program.

“I wanted to learn the Korean language, but it isn’t offered at UNA. So, I was going to go somewhere else to learn it,” she said. “I spent a year abroad in South Korea with UNA’s participation in the Magellan Exchange program. My tuition was still paid to UNA, so I was able to use my financial aid. My housing was half of what I pay to UNA, so I was able to put that money to help buy my plane ticket.”

Christy said studying abroad offers more than experience for work.

“An important part of studying abroad is finding who you are,” he said. “As long as you’re ‘swimming in the fish bowl,’ you don’t really pay much attention to the fact it’s just your existence. It’s an opportunity to mature. You’re handling a lot of difficult situations, often by yourself. You’re going to make friends abroad who come from different backgrounds from across the world. Most times, these friends are for life.”

Kutz said she recommends students study abroad when they have the chance.

“Studying abroad is an incredible way to experience new places, learn about other cultures and make lifelong friends,” she said. “Having never traveled outside of the country prior to studying in Australia, I was scared and unsure. (However) that quickly went away as I started to get involved abroad and make new friends from all over the world.”

To learn more about studying abroad, contact the Office of International Affairs at 256-765-4626 or Christy, director of the Center for Global Engagement, at [email protected].